Community Cares

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Our school, Desert Vista Elementary, is fortunate to have many community members that support the learning in our school by volunteering time and resources.  Below is just a few instances that show how much people in our community care about students and their learning.  Thank you to all of those who show their caring and dedication to our school.

Read to Me

Mayor Insalaco, the Mayor of Apache Junction, came to our class to read to us.  We happened to be digging into folktales and fables, so he read to us Pecos Bill, a tale about a boy who was raised by coyotes.  The mayor often volunteers his time to read to the students that attend an Apache Junction school.

He then spent some time letting us ask questions.  We found out something very interesting.  He was once bit by a rattlesnake.  He even showed us the two fang marks that was left as a scar.

The Rotary Club of superstition mountain

Each year the Rotary Club of superstition mountain provides our school with dictionaries.  Every child in third grade gets one.  They take time out of their busy schedule to spend some time with us talking about the dictionary and doing some fun activities using the dictionary.  Mrs. Fraher is so thankful that we have these.  The cool thing about these dictionaries is that they have other interesting things in the back.  Some of those things are: the world’s longest word, facts about states and countries, math information, and maps.  We can use these dictionaries for more than just looking up words!


Digging into Dictionaries – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

 Bunny and Nell

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There are two very kind women who have donated money to several of the classes at our school.  These women aren’t wealthy, they just care and want to help where they can.  There names are Bunny and Nell.  This year, Bunny and Nell donated $100 to our class for a project.  Mrs. Fraher was so excited.  She had just the project for us to do.  You will have to stay tuned to this blog to find out what the project is.  The suspense is killing us!

Project Hummer watch

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we have a garden outside our classroom that attracts hummingbirds and other birds using feeders and plants that draw hummingbirds.  This garden would not have been possible without the help of so many community members and businesses.  A wonderful parent,  Heather Harter, worked hard to get The plants donated by local nurseries.    below is a list of those businesses.

Target                   Shady Way Nursery                      Home Depot
BEST Hardware     Apache Landscape                         Moon Valley
ACE Hardware

Have you had someone do something kind or generous for you?  If so, what was it?

 

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The Sound of Music

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The halls were filled with the sound of music…violin music, that is!  Our class had a unique privilege this last week to listen to Tricia Park and Taylor Morris play the violin for us.  So, how did we luck out and get to have them come and play for us?  Well, Taylor Morris is really good friends with one of the parents in our class.  Talk about knowing people in the right places!

Our class with the famous violinists, Tricia Park and Taylor Morris.

Our class with the famous violinists, Tricia Park and Taylor Morris.

Their presentation was so entertaining and informative for the students.  

Take a look:

Violin Visit from GFraher on Vimeo.

One of the great things about their visit was that we were learning about fables the same week they visited.  Without knowing this, they played Peter and the Wolf written by Sergei Prokofiev.  This provided a great connection between the text and the world for us.  An interesting facts about Sergei Prokofiev is that he also wrote the composition for Cinderella and Romeo and Juliet.

Afterwards, we wrote thank you cards for them.  They enjoyed reading them and even posted a picture of them on Facebook.

thank you cards

 

Do you know the difference between a fiddle and a violin?  

What is your favorite instrument to listen to?

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An American Symbol Soars Into Our Learning

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We are always on the lookout for a good way to collaborate and learn new things.  Just sit back, get comfy, and listen to what we have been experiencing the last few days.  It’ll knock your red, white, and blue socks off!

Our class is very interested in all things involving our country. We are all wearing our patriotic colors to show our pride in the United States.

It all started with an email Miss Hall, our speech teacher, sent us because she knows how much we love technology and birds.  The email contained a site that provides live cameras on different animals.  This happened to contain a link to a live camera on a bald eagle nest in Tennessee!  So, we jumped on right away and were instantly caught up in the life of Franklin, Frank for short, and Indy (Independence).  Frank and Indy are non-release eagles who are currently caring for two baby eagles.  Franklin and Independence are in their 20’s and have been together since 2000.  They have had 29 eaglets together. 

Bet you are wanting to see them, huh?  In a little bit…

No, this isn’t Indy or Frank but it is a bald eagle who loves the USA!

We had so many questions!  Mrs. Fraher noticed a chat going on next to the live feed and she asked if we could jump in and ask questions.  The people in the chat were so nice to let us spend some time asking all about these two eagles.  We had to take turns asking the questions.  They sent us a whole bunch of links and pictures to use.  Here is what we learned:

So, you see how much we learned.  To learn more about the eagles and American Eagle Foundation click on the words.  We think it is so important to be aware that humans are the biggest threat to eagles and many other species.  Our carelessness and lack of information is harmful to the animals in which we share the earth.

After learning about the eagle and keeping it safe, what do you think you could do to help protect these majestic birds?

Why do you think the eagles were named Franklin and Independence?

 

 

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Spreading Christmas Cheer

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What did you do this holiday season to show a “giving” spirit instead of a “getting” spirit?

Our class had an excellent opportunity to live out the saying, “It is better to give than to receive.”  With the Christmas season, came the feeling that we wanted to make others happy.  Two groups of people came to mind:  the residents of the Aurora House Assisted Living Home and the staff members at our school, Peralta Trail Elementary.

So, with a donation of cookie dough by a parent and Mr. Blomgren, our principal, we set out to bake cookies and create our own Christmas cards to give out to the teacher’s on Friday.

Then on Saturday, many of us met at Aurora House to share the cookies, some holiday cheer, and family traditions.  When we left, there was a feeling of well-being because we knew that we had put others first.

Take a look at what we did:

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Desert Teachers!

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We are so excited to become desert teachers for Mrs. Spasic’s class in Indiana.  You might be thinking how are we going to teach a class in Indiana if we are in Arizona?  Well, we are going to Skype with each other.

Like any good teacher we will have to learn about our topic.  Some of us will be teaching about a certain desert animal and the others will teach about a type of desert plant.

Doing a little bit of research using our Netbooks.

As you know research can be kind of tricky when you are a kid.  Some of the sites are too hard to read for eight year olds and the others may not have safe content.  So, Mrs. Fraher uses Symbaloo to help us target our research to sites that are appropriate for us to learn.  

Have you ever used Symbaloo?

Here is the link she put together for us to use to gather our research.  We will read through the information and fill out a graphic organizer.  

SYMBALOO 

 

 

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Digital Citizenship

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guest post by Tracy Watanabe

 

Today we talked about digital citizenship and Internet safety. We talked about being members of our physical community and members of a digital community. In both communities, we have expectations for being a good citizen and being safe.

Some of the safety and citizenship expectations students knew were:

  1. Keep your personal information safe, such as your full name, address, phone number, etc.
  2. Don’t post or comment about where people can find you. For example, don’t share that you will be at soccer practice from 7:00-8:00 tonight at the park.
  3. Be respectful and polite online.
  4. Since blog comments are like friendly letters, we should follow the friendly letter format.
What’s our next step?
  1. Watch a BrainPOP Online Safety video to see what we can add to our list.
  2. Visit one of these blogs and decide how well they follow Internet safety and digital citizenship rules:

What do you think we should add to our Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship expectations?

What did you notice/learn from investigating the above blogs?

What have you learned from this discussion/post, and what questions do you still have?

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A Flat Friend Farewell

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Before we left for summer vacation, our class finished up a project based from the Flat Stanley books.

Our class on the field trip. This is one of the memories we wrote about with our Flat Friends in Australia.

Have you read one of them?  What did you like about it?

We read the book and then collaborated with teachers in Australia, England, and United States on a project that took many months.

Here is what we did.  First, we read the book.  Then we created Flat Selves and a Flat Friend Journal.  

Here is Flat Stanley. Our Flat Selves looked like us but had the same shape of body...FLAT!

This journal would travel with our Flat Self to another class around the world.  Our Flat Selves started in Point Lonsdale, Australia.  They stayed their for a couple of weeks getting to know the children that lived there.  

Here is a video on what they did:

This was video created by Mrs. Murphy, the teacher in Australia who had our flat selves.  The children there write in our journals about the exciting places and things they did with our Flat Selves.

Meanwhile, we had two different classes sent to us.  We had Mrs. Murphy’s class from Point Lonsdale in Australia for awhile and then  Mrs. Todd’s class from Rocky River, North Carolina.  We wrote in their journals about the adventures they had with us.  It was a fun way to practice our writing!

Have you ever been to Australia or North Carolina?  Tell us what you saw. 

Here is a video we created to show what we did with our Flat Friends.

Just like some stories, this one had a sad ending.  After visiting with Mrs. Murphy’s class, they were sent to another school in Australia-Curl Curl North Public School in Curl Curl, Australia.  We never received our Flat Selves back from this school.  Hopefully, they will arrive so we can find out what amazing adventures we had with others around the world. 

Thank you to everyone for a wonderful time with our Flat Friends.  We will have many fond memories to look back on.  

Australia, North Carolina, and Arizona are so far apart, but we learned that no matter where we live we are all the same when it comes to enjoying life.  We also learned that our differences make us unique and a blast to get to know!

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We Are the Champions!

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A couple months ago we took the AIMS test.  This test was supposed to see how we did in third grade.  

Were we worried like the iFake Text above said?  No way!

Back of Justin's shirt he got from Cactus Canyon Wrestling team.

This saying was perfect to motivate us for testing.  

Everyone (ALL STUDENTS) has the desire (WANTS TO) to win (MEET OR EXCEED)!  Only champions have desire to prepare (STUDY, USE STRATEGIES, TAKE YOUR TIME, POSITIVE ATTITUDE).

Here are some things that we did to do to become champions on this test:

Cassidy said: “Mrs. Fraher taught us lots of strategies to help us take the test.  One of the things she did was to look for words like “always”, “never”, or “not”.  These words will help you on choosing a correct answer.  I also made sure I took my time.  The AIMS isn’t timed so sometimes I took brain rest.  I liked reading the cards my mom wrote for me.  I would read it right before I took the test and it helped me because she said she loved me.”

Isaiah said:  “One strategy I used to help me on the test was to get rid of the choices that were obviously not right.  In our class we called these the “DUH” answers.  I think it is important to not get distracted and let people bother you.”

Gabe said:  “Sometimes it is hard to read so much and remember what you read so I underline important stuff with my highlighter.  We practiced doing this in the mornings on our morning work.  It helped when we had to take the test.”

Faye said:  “When I do the math test I will draw pictures or make a story in my head because it helps me solve the problem.  In math, Mrs. Fraher would make us show more than one way to solve a problem.  I think it is important to try hard and think that you can do it.  I liked my cards my mom and dad wrote to me.”

Zach said:  “A strategy we learned was to read the questions first before reading the story.  That way we know what to look for.  It helps me find the important parts of the story and answer the questions easier.  If you think you can do it, you can.”

Anthony said:  “I didn’t rush just to get done.  I underlined important parts.  I listened when Mrs. Fraher reviewed for the test.  I think I did a good job on it.  Mrs. Fraher had the parents write secret cards for us and she passed them out each day of testing.  She wrote one for us too. This showed me that my parents wanted me to do a good job.  I liked reading them.”

 

Here we are after a day of testing. See the pink and yellow cards parents wrote for us? They really helped us stay motivated and not give up.

 

What are some strategies you use to help you on testing?

Do you like to take tests?

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Learning from Each Other

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If you have been following our blog, you probably know that we have buddies in Kenya.

Our Kenya friends!

We are very lucky to have them as friends because we learn so much about their life and they learn so much from us.   Our class has become experts on the plant and animal life found in the desert, so we wanted to share some of what we know with them.

Exploring the desert outside our classroom!

We decided to create a poster on the information we learned and send it to our Kenya Buddies.

Here we are researching the species we took pictures of using our class digital camera. See the poster on the wall?

This way they will get to see what our desert looks like and the wildlife we have.  They just received it and are very happy.

Students at Bensesa School with the desert posters we made.

 

You may be asking what we have learned from them.  Well, let us tell you…

Kenya is a country in the eastern part of Africa.  The coast of Kenya is the Indian Ocean.

The capital of Kenya is Nairobi.  Our Kenya buddies go to a school that is in a rural part of Nairobi.

April is the one of the months that are rainy in Kenya.

They learn to speak English and Kiswahili in school.

A Day in the Life of a Kenyan Child

One of the foods they eat for breakfast is mandazi and chapati.

Mandazi is fried dough shaped like a doughnut.  The picture below was sent to us by our friends at Bensesa School.

They eat mandazi for breakfast.

They also eat chapati, which is fried dough.  They may have this for lunch or ugali.  

Chapati!

 

Serving ugali and mandazi at school.

Do you know an interesting fact about Kenya that you can share?

Do you know an interesting fact about the Sonoran Desert to share?

 

 

 

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